NIA Liaison Professor and Langley Distinguished Professor Named Royal Aeronautical Society Fellows

NIA Liaison Professor and Langley Distinguished Professor Named Royal Aeronautical Society Fellows

Prof. Colin Britcher, Liaison Professor at Old Dominion University and Director of Graduate Programs at the National Institute of Aerospace, and Prof. Dimitri Mavris, NIA’s Langley Distinguished Professor at Georgia Tech, were recently elected as Fellows of the prestigious Royal Aeronautical Society. Dr. Britcher, who serves as the Associate Chair of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Old Dominion University, has expertise in aerospace engineering particularly in experimental methods. Dr. Mavris, Regents Professor and Boeing Professor of Advanced Aerospace Systems at the Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, is also the director of the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) and has expertise in Systems Design and Optimization.

Fellowship is the highest grade attainable at the Royal Aeronautical Society and is bestowed upon those in the profession of aeronautics or aerospace. Only members who demonstrate that they have had long experience, attained positions of high responsibility, and who have outstanding contributions in the profession of aeronautics are chosen as Fellows.

2017 RASC-AL Special Edition: Mars Ice Challenge

2017 RASC-AL Special Edition: Mars Ice Challenge – Official Announcement

On Tuesday, August 16, 2016 NIA made a preview announcement for the 2017 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) Special Edition: Mars Ice Challenge, a brand new special edition challenge for 2017 in celebration of NASA’s Langley Research Center’s (LaRC’s) 100th Anniversary. On Friday, September 23, 2016, NIA announced the final competition design parameters, constraints, requirements, and guidelines.  This design competition is aimed at university-level engineering students and faculty.

The RASC-AL Special Edition: Mars Ice Challenge is primarily sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate with support from Advanced Exploration Systems, the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the Langley Research Center.   As a part of the centennial celebration, Langley will host a RASC-AL “Special Edition” Challenge focusing on technology capability demonstrations for In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) on Mars, particularly extracting water from a simulated Martian “glacier.”  Improving ISRU capabilities will be a growing focus at NASA in the near future.

NIA conducted an intensive and targeted competition awareness campaign for the Mars Ice Challenge that included a full service website, electronic marketing collateral, social media, and personalized emails to over 2400 targeted engineering deans, department chairs, and faculty.

Based on a review of project plan proposals due November 17, 2016, up to eight (8) teams will be selected to build and test a prototype ice drilling system and compete to extract the most water from simulated Martian subsurface ice at NASA LaRC in a 3 day competition during the summer of 2017.  The finalists will receive a stipend to facilitate their team’s full participation in the competition.

Full competition details can found by visiting the RASC-AL Special Edition Website (

NIA RASC-AL POC:  Shelley Spears;; 757-325-6732

LaRC RASC-AL POC:  Pat Troutman, Space Mission Analysis Branch,; 757.864.1954



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